Friday, November 12, 2004

Not for the squeamish

I'm going to admit to you my worst failure (so far) as a mother. This is the biggest frustration in my life. My daughter and I stand on opposing sides - it has become a full-out battle. I dug my heals in. I really tried to keep it from coming to this, but she insisted, and she dragged me with her. We are on opposite sides of the doorway, and neither of us will budge one more inch.

It is the bathroom door of which I'm speaking, of course. Potty training. (Or potty "teaching", if that term sits better with you.) I really don't know where I went wrong. I am excellent at the potty thing, if I do say so myself, so you'd think I could pass on my well-honed skills to my offspring. It should be simple, right? No, sadly, it is not simple.

Maybe I started too late with her. Let's face it. I'm lazy - I can admit that. I was perfectly happy changing her diapers, because there is less FWIF involved with changing a diaper than having my toddler sitting on public toilets - I shuddered at the thought.

She is a whiz (pun intended) at tinkling, as it is known in our house. (Yes, tinkle. What would you call it? It's cute and child-like. I like it.) She got this concept right away, and has had only a handful of accidents in this regard.

Our problem is poop. I hate poop. Everywhere I turn I'm cleaning it up. My house smells of it. My little girl smells of it. One night I kissed her little angel face good night and I swear I smelled poop on her breath. It's that bad.

My poor dear little darling is anal retentive - literally. She has troubles with regularity, so that takes this very difficult task to a whole other level for her. I really feel for her. I've been there, too, and I "feel her pain". Also knowing what I went through as a kid frightens the hell out of me - I'm afraid of what's to come for the two of us on this magical journey.

We've done the whole "this is what big kids do" bit. Lots of positive reinforcement. We stuck with that for a long time, because this was the beginning for us, when our patience was high - right up there with our hopes and expectations. We said a lot of things like "Aaahhh Sweetie, it's okay that you had an accident. You'll do better next time!" We finally decided this wasn't going to work when she would come to us and say "I need to be cleaned up. It's okay I had an accident!"

I resisted but finally turned to rewards. Tootsie rolls were our reward of choice, and looking back on it now, aptly so. (Come on, you can't see the humor in offering tootsie rolls as a reward for pooping?) This really didn't work. There were a few times when cleaning her up we'd set her on the potty and the "product" that she had "produced" in her pants had stuck to her cute little bottom and then fallen off in the toilet. She was ecstatic! "I went poopy on the potty!!!" she would scream, and what is a parent to do? We couldn't burst her bubble. We were consistent with the rewards, and trudged along. More positive reinforcement.... more trudging.

We then decided that we were pushing too hard, so backed off a little bit. "Here Baby, if you need to poopy and don't want to go on the potty, you may use a Pull-up." We thought she would do it on her own when she was ready. This didn't work either. She apparently inherited her mother's laziness, because she just decided that since she could tinkle in the pull-up and not make a mess, this was far better than interrupting her playtime for potty time. Scratch that.

I'll spare you the rest of the details. Sadly, we are now at full-blown bribery. I have little toys - toys that I know she covets - locked behind glass at her eye level. "Look what you can have if you go big poopy on the potty!" (We now have to specify "big" to avoid the problem I mentioned earlier) She was very excited about this prospect, and immediately spent an hour sitting on the potty with no luck. She has earned herself a little Care Bear, but doesn't seem in a hurry for the other toys. I have even heard myself say "Ella-bear, don't you think that other Care Bear is lonely in there? I bet he would love to come out and play with you!" Someone please just slap me!

I'd love to tell you some kind of end to this torturous story, but THERE ISN'T ONE! I have nearly given up. I'm doomed to clean up poop. My son will be potty trained before she is. If she is never potty trained she will never go to school! What am I going to do? (The irony here is that when she was a baby I toyed with the idea of home schooling, which hubby is adamantly against. Now here we face the possibility of being forced into it, because what 5th grade teacher can stop her class because my daughter needs to be cleaned up?)

All I can say is that Little Man better be easy after all of this! Excuse me now while I go Febreze my entire home.
Name: Christine
Location: Wyoming, United States
I'm the Mom of two. They drive me crazy. I love them dearly. I want one more. I'm not insane, yet. My hubby says I'm a snob with an inferiority complex. There is more to me than being a mother. I just don't remember any of it.

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